“Abiding doesn’t measure how much you know about your faith or your Bible. In abiding you seek, long for, thirst for, wait for, see, know, love, hear, and respond to … a person. More abiding means more of God in your life, more of Him in your activities, thoughts, and desires.”
As I sit here and think about my own relationship with God over the years, I can see cycles of deeper intimacy that I would prefer remained more constant. When Jesus told His disciples to abide in Him, it meant more than just visiting frequently – it meant being vitally united to Him in such a way that He would be the very source of life that they drew from on a continual, daily basis.
Have you ever drifted from your first love? Have you ever had such a desire to serve God that you submerged yourself in Christian doctrine, becoming excellent at disciplines and principles, growing confident and competent to the point that your living, flourishing relationship with Christ began to suffer? Disciplines are good. Doctrine is good, but we are not changed by doctrine; we are changed by seeing Jesus.
“…but we all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
Even as we renew our minds in the word of God, true and lasting change only comes when we receive the light of the truth (Christ), and behold His beautiful face. We become more and more like Him by seeing Him, and that comes when we abide in Him.
When Jesus spoke the words recorded in John 15, He and His disciples were walking to Gethsemane. They had celebrated the Passover. They had been full of joy until Jesus began to wash their feet, speak of betrayal, denial, and His imminent departure. He tried to calm the disciples’ fear and assure them that they would not be left alone. As they pondered His words on this walk, He stopped and spoke to them about branches, and vines, and the Vinedresser. In our record of the words He spoke, He uses the word abide 10 times in 11 verses. He is passionate in what He is saying to His friends: Even though I am leaving, we MUST stay together.
He is no less passionate in talking to you today, right now, at this very moment. You are called to produce miraculous harvests, abundant crops of fruit for God’s glory, but apart from Christ you can do NOTHING! HE is everything. IN HIM you live, and move and have your very being. Don’t be so busy for God that you forget to sit at His feet and worship, and love, and listen, and praise, and draw fresh living water from His well every day!
So many of the concerns in your heart, the questions about your future, the cares of this life will be silenced when His voice is speaking, will grow dim when His light is manifested, will become small when His great glory is revealed. I have been guilty so many times of seeking answers instead of seeking Him. We do need answers, wisdom, direction, guidance, and vision, but sometimes we’re not even asking the right questions! So many complexities are simplified when we stop obsessing over details, and start passionately pursuing the one who knows every detail!
Maybe you need more than just inspiration today. Maybe you need direction. How do I cultivate this kind of relationship? Here are just a few keys to practice this week to begin to deepen the QUALITY of your devoted time with God:
1. Set apart time to talk and listen to A PERSON:
No matter how long this devoted time is – whether 10 minutes or two hours – make it QUALITY. Have a private place to read and write, think and study, talk to God out loud, and be ready to write down His words to you. As you read the Bible, read in order to meet someone, ponder what you read and expect God to commune with you. You’d be surprised how even 10 minutes of quality, daily communion with God can drastically change your attitude, perception, and priorities.
2. Be attentive to His presence all day long:
Now that you’ve spent that “set apart” time with God – don’t leave Him there. Abide in His presence. Ask Him what He thinks about whatever is heavy on your heart. Invite Him into the inner dialogue you are having as you make daily decisions. Thank Him and acknowledge Him throughout your day, and make an intentional choice to be aware of Him the way you’d be aware of a friend or your spouse if they were present in the room.
I invite you to practice abiding in Him this week. He is always calling us closer, and as we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. He is waiting…